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Boys Love Their Mommies More

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Everyone always says "Boys love their mommies!" But what about girls? Don't they love their mommies, too?

boy and his mother

Guest blogger Samantha: When I found out I was pregnant with a boy, everyone told me to be happy. "Boys love their mommies!" they would say. But what if I get pregnant with a girl? Will they then say, "Aww. Too bad. She will never love you as much as her brother does!"?

While I do feel a strong connection with my son, and do notice that he hugs, kisses and cuddles with me sometimes more than he does with his dad, I'm not so convinced that there is some deep-rooted meaning behind it. Isn't it just a phase he's in? Doesn't he love his dad as much as he loves me? And won't my daughter love me as much as she might her father?! As much as I secretly enjoy the idea that my son loves me more than anyone or anything in the world, I have a hard time believing that there's any real truth beyond this age-old philosophy... I mean, is there?

We asked momlogic parenting expert Jill Spivack to weigh in:

The idea that boys love their mommies intensively comes from Freud's "Oedipal Complex," which basically stated that between the ages of three and five, boys become focused on their mothers (the opposite sex) and competes with the father for her attention. Freud also believed that girls go through something similar with their fathers, "Electra Complex," where they rival their mother for his attention.

This feeling, according to Freud, can create a desire to exclude the same-sex parent as the child moves through this stage of development. As a child becomes more dependent, he also learns that his mother has other people in her life that compete with his attention and love and learns to accept it if parented well. Once a child matures and identifies with the same-sex parent, he usually accepts not having the opposite sex parent all to himself and will eventually look for that person in the future when he grows up.

I do believe that children go through a phase where they may want the opposite-sex parent, but there are so many opportunities for attachment with both parents! There are so many factors in addition to this"nature" phenomena that will affect a child's attachment to their parent -- like shared interests and attuned responses to the child. Whether you have a boy OR a girl, you're surely able to connect on a deep and intimate level at different stages for different reasons with your children, no matter what their gender.

Bottom line: Depending on the stage, children often bounce back and forth between their parents. As a mom, you should be there and ready to give them love no matter who their favorite parent of the moment is.

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86 comments so far | Post a comment now
Norman Rosenblood January 24, 2009, 1:09 PM

Jill Spivack’s comments on the oedipal struggles of boys might have included some references to a fear of the father’s intervention and punishment.
It might be worth reading some of Freud’s papers on the effects of castration phantasies—for boys and girls.

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